Genesys is the name of a health care facility in our area. Cute. But I think they oversell themselves a bit. I am truly thankful for medical science, and for recent breakthroughs and improvements, and I hope for more. I appreciate that hospitals are now competing for customers, and that they are trying hard to put their best foot forward.
But their theology is lacking. And the marketing department is running the show. Don’t worry. They are not alone. It is happening at businesses, and schools, and in churches.
“Genesis” means “beginnings.” The book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament of the Bible, starts with the words, “In the beginning, …” It is a book about the beginnings of the created order, spoken into existence by the Word of God. It follows with the story of the beginning of the human race, with God Himself personally and intimately involved in the formation of both male and female. Genesis goes on and tells the story of the beginning of a people through a childless couple, and the beginning of covenant promise and commitment.
I wonder, are there any of these senses in which Genesys thought it was appropriate to co-opt the word, “Genesis?”
Genesis also includes less cheery beginnings. It records graphically the first sin, both silly and stupid. It chronicles the rapid rise of sin into evil, and God’s response in the ‘whelming flood. The book of Genesis also does not whitewash the close-to-home evils of betrayal and envy and bitterness and lies.
I hardly think Genesys wants that kind of association.
And I wonder, is the backside of the hospital call Exodys. If you enter the front door with hopes and promises of all that can be done, what happens when all that can be done isn’t enough? What happens when the cancer wins; when the bleeding can’t be stopped, and when the treatment for one ailment kills you with another?
“Exodus” means “departure.” So, in a sense, Exodys might be a better name than Genesys. Everybody wants just to get out of there and go home. But we all know that there is a more serious departure about which we seldom think, and which does not fit into anyone’s marketing plan.
We are all going to die. We will all make an exit, timely or untimely. The exodus will happen whether we think we are ready or not. Maybe the hospital won’t tell us about the inevitability of death, but someone should. And if we are going to be ready to die, then we need a new beginning, another genesis.
If you want a good Exodus, you need a new Genesis – to be part of a new creation; a member of a new humanity; birthed into a new family; welcomed into covenant community. You need a cure, not for cancer, but for sin, whether sin that is attached to the cosmos, or to the human race, or to you personally.
Genesis and Exodus. They belong together. They should be attended separately.